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Virgil Wander / Leif Enger.

By: Enger, Leif [author.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London : Corsair, an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group, 2018Copyright date: ©2018Description: 300 pages ; 24 cm.ISBN: 9781472154477 (paperback).Subject(s): City and town life -- Middle West -- Fiction | Traffic accident victims -- Fiction | Memory disorders -- Patients -- Fiction | Life change events -- Fiction | Middle West -- Social conditions -- FictionDDC classification: 813.6 Summary: Midwestern movie house owner Virgil Wander is cruising along at medium altitude"when his car flies off the road into icy Lake Superior. Virgil survives but his language and memory are altered and he emerges into a world no longer familiar to him. Awakening in this new life, Virgil begins to piece together his personal history and the lore of his broken town, with the help of a cast of affable and curious locals?from Rune, a twinkling, pipe-smoking, kite-flying stranger investigating the mystery of his disappeared son; to Nadine, the reserved, enchanting wife of the vanished man, to Tom, a journalist and Virgil's oldest friend; and various members of the Pea family who must confront tragedies of their own. Into this community returns a shimmering prodigal son who may hold the key to reviving their town. With intelligent humor and captivating whimsy, Leif Enger conjures a remarkable portrait of a region and its residents, who, for reasons of choice or circumstance, never made it out of their defunct industrial district. Carried aloft by quotidian pleasures including movies, fishing, necking in parked cars, playing baseball and falling in love, Virgil Wander is a swift, full journey into the heart and heartache of an often overlooked American Upper Midwest.
Item type Current location Collection Call number Status Date due Barcode Item reserves
Default Sunshine Library (DIY)
Fiction ENGE Available IA2014759
Default St Albans Library
Fiction ENGE Available IA2014758
Total reserves: 0

Midwestern movie house owner Virgil Wander is cruising along at medium altitude"when his car flies off the road into icy Lake Superior. Virgil survives but his language and memory are altered and he emerges into a world no longer familiar to him. Awakening in this new life, Virgil begins to piece together his personal history and the lore of his broken town, with the help of a cast of affable and curious locals?from Rune, a twinkling, pipe-smoking, kite-flying stranger investigating the mystery of his disappeared son; to Nadine, the reserved, enchanting wife of the vanished man, to Tom, a journalist and Virgil's oldest friend; and various members of the Pea family who must confront tragedies of their own. Into this community returns a shimmering prodigal son who may hold the key to reviving their town. With intelligent humor and captivating whimsy, Leif Enger conjures a remarkable portrait of a region and its residents, who, for reasons of choice or circumstance, never made it out of their defunct industrial district. Carried aloft by quotidian pleasures including movies, fishing, necking in parked cars, playing baseball and falling in love, Virgil Wander is a swift, full journey into the heart and heartache of an often overlooked American Upper Midwest.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

In his long-awaited new novel, Enger (Peace Like a River) takes us on one man's moving journey of renewal after his car skids on an icy road and lands in Lake Superior. Virgil Wander escapes with short-term memory loss, followed by visions of a dark figure no one else can see. For 25 years an unassuming resident of Greenstone, MN, a once vibrant town now in decline, Virgil works part-time as a city clerk and is the proud owner of the Empress Theater, which shows classic movies. Strangely, he feels the preaccident Virgil, self-effacing and apologetic, died in the accident; the vigorous new Virgil won't be pushed around. After almost burning down his kitchen, he takes on a curious roommate, Rune Eliassen, who arrives on a mission to find his missing son, Alec, a semifamous baseball player who took off from Greenstone in a small plane and never returned. VERDICT With an unexpected dry wit, Enger pens a loosely woven plot about plucky Greenstone residents working to rejuvenate their town but finding a bonus in their own renewed enthusiasm for life. Surprises and delights throughout; definitely worth waiting for. [See Prepub Alert, 4/19/18.]-Donna Bettencourt, Mesa Cty. P.L., Grand Junction, CO © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

The well-meaning sad sack who narrates this poignant novel from Enger (Peace Like a River) has just driven his car into icy Lake Superior when the book opens. Suffering from a concussion and possibly hallucinations, Virgil, the middle-aged town clerk and owner of a decrepit money pit of a movie theater, decides to take his emergence from the lake as a sign of rebirth. He's aided in that endeavor by a mysterious, kite-flying Norwegian stranger named Rune, who has just arrived in the decaying former mining town of Greenstone, Minn., with "a hundred merry crinkles at his eyes and a long-haul sadness in his shoulders." Rune is looking for information about a son he has only recently learned of, a gifted Minor League Baseball player who took off in a small plane a few years back and was never seen again, leaving behind a wife, "the tempestuous Nadine," for whom Virgil has silently pined for years. Greenstone is one of those folksy Minnesota towns just a little north of the literary territory of Lake Wobegon, full of characters doing their awkward best, with a touch of evil added by nihilist screenwriter Adam Leer, who has returned to his hometown for nefarious if not entirely defined purposes. Enger's novel gives magical realism a homely Midwestern twist, and should have very broad appeal. Agent: Molly Friedrich, the Friedrich Agency. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Virgil Wander, city clerk of Greenstone, a formerly industrious coastal Minnesota town that time forgot, has just survived a crash that sent his Pontiac screaming into snowy Lake Superior. After Virgil's accident, his apartment above the movie theater he owns and operates feels like someone else's home, and everyone he used to know most of whom he remembers wants to be sure he heard the rumor that he, in fact, died. In his convalescence, Virgil meets Rune, a Norwegian ostensibly arrived in Greenstone to teach its residents the joys of kite flying as he gathers information about his son, who just happens to be the town's most famously disappeared resident: a minor-league baseball phenom who took a solo flight in a Taylorcraft 10 years ago and never came back. Virgil's narration is a joy: he lost his adjectives in the crash, making for their gleeful insertion each time he remembers one. Enger (So Brave, Young, and Handsome, 2008) populates down-on-its-luck Greenstone with true characters charming Virgil, his love interest, friends, and not-quite-friends, and even some wily wildlife and gives them diverting plotlines aplenty, but the focus of his bright and breathing third novel feels mostly like life itself, in all its smallness and bigness, and what it means to live a good one.--Annie Bostrom Copyright 2018 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

Minnesota novelist Enger (So Brave, Young, and Handsome, 2008, etc.) takes readers on a magical mystery tour of a fictional town on the shores of Lake Michigan, near Duluth.One of the subplots of this parable about the rebirth of both the titular narrator and his North Shore hometown concerns a minor-league prospect who had one moment of glory that he was never able to equal. An eccentric young pitcher with a fastball so uncontrollable it had its own nicknamethe "Mad Mouse"he pitched a no-hitter and then disappeared into the ether. It's easy to read that as a metaphor for the author himself, who made a bestselling breakthrough with his debut (Peace Like a River, 2001), wasn't able to sustain a major-league reputation with his follow-up, and has now returned with his first novel in a decadeperhaps his most ambitious. Or at least his most overstuffed. Among its elements is the first-person narrator with the portentous name who has survived a near-death experience, plunging with his car into Lake Superior. And a kite-flying Nordic codger who has come in search of the son he never knew (the disappeared pitcher). And a pet raccoon named Genghis, half-domesticated, half-feral. And a homicidal sturgeon. And the wayward son of the town founder who has become a film director of disrepute and brings ill fortune to others by his very presence. And a mythically beautiful young mother and her son, who are hoping for the return of their Odysseus (again, the disappeared pitcher) but will perhaps find new love with Virgil. And an annual festival called Hard Luck Days to which the story builds and which eventually attracts regional son Bob Dylan (who proclaims the pie he is served "better than the Nobel"). There's also a bomb. Virgil himself provides the best summary: "Why am I still surprised when it turns out there is more to the story?...A person never knows what is nextI don't, anyway. The surface of everything is thinner than we know. A person can fall right through, without any warning at all."Like Garrison Keillor on hallucinogens, this novel has a lot more imagination than coherence. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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